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J Gastroenterol. 1997 Oct;32(5):689-95.

Exacerbated autoimmune hepatitis successfully treated with leukocytapheresis and bilirubin adsorption therapy.

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  • 1Fourth Department of Internal Medicine, Hyogo College of Medicine, Japan.


A 58-year-old man with subacute fulminant onset of autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) was treated by leukocytapheresis (LCAP) and bilirubin adsorption therapy (BAT), rather than by administration of high-dose corticosteroids as he had mild glucose intolerance, and a definitive diagnosis of AIH was not obtained on admission; further, there was a risk of viral infection. After initiation of the therapies, serum transaminases and bilirubin, immunoglobulins, anti-nuclear antibodies, and rheumatoid factor decreased rapidly, as did the initially high levels of activated cells and several pro-inflammatory cytokines. Liver inflammation observed on liver biopsy settled during the course of the therapies, with no adverse side effects. A pause in the therapies was associated with deterioration; however, restoration of apheresis was followed by normalization. Remission was sustained throughout the period monitored, except for a recurrence 14 months after discharge, which was successfully resolved by two additional LCAP sessions. These results suggest that LCAP influences the causal mechanism(s) of exacerbation of AIH.

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